MacGeorge and I are Limping Along

So, MacGeorge and I are limping along. I’ve spent hours and hours and hours today tweaking. Instead of calling Apple Care and getting the wrong information, I’m asking the computer questions and poking around adjusting stuff.

Unfortunately, every time one thing is adjusted, it means something else fails (the latest is that if I hit “ignore” on Spell Check, the only thing it ignores is ME, not the word).

But I printed out some stuff, got out a submission that’s due and three queries, and we are getting by.

I’m still upset and depressed, but, since it’s obvious I’m not going to get any help from the company that created this poor thing, it’s up to the computer and I to figure it out. It may have Artificial Intelligence, but I’ve got to focus more on the “intelligence” part and less on the “artificial”.

Published in: on August 16, 2009 at 2:31 pm  Comments (4)  
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

I’m very discouraged. I’m terribly disappointed in Apple. All their hype seems to be just that — hype. I spent hours at the Genius Bar yesterday. This time, I was told that my software was corrupt. So they wiped the brand-new hard drive, moved my work files to the new hard drive, and then reloaded some of the software. I was told that when I went home, I had to reload my printers, my iWork, my Word for Mac, etc., and then everything would be uncorrupted and the computer would run like new — after all, new hard drive, freshly loaded software, it should be perfect, right?

Of course not.

I didn’t know that right away. I was already late for the Wellness Fair gig, so I dropped off the computer at home and headed over. As I suspected, the bulk of the vendors were overpriced, with most of the merchandise starting over $100. I don’t care how wonderful an energetic bracelet is, I’m not paying $300 for one. I can find and charge my own stones, and have something far more individual.

I hoped they’d have a massage therapist, as they usually do at these things, a few people with chairs, who, for a fee, work on your neck and shoulders for awhile. No such luck. They had various practitioners there with whom one could book, at $25 for a 15 minute session. If you’ve ever done any reading work or such work, you know that 15 minutes is not a workable time frame for this kind of work. It’s fine for massage or some bodywork — a good practitioner can do a lot in a few minutes — but not for readings. I considered the Reiki session, but couldn’t get an appointment early enough.

However, I attended two lovely lectures. One was on aromatherapy, with the woman who runs Urban Tranquility. She is one of the most personable, open, appreciative, positive, and fun people I’ve ever encountered — and she really knows her stuff! I’ve been working with oils for several years now, and I still learned a lot from her in a 30 minute lecture that I can apply as I continue working with oils, bath salts, etc. I plan to keep track of where she’s teaching, and, hopefully, I can take one of her workshops one day.

I also stayed for the lecture on labyrinths and the labyrinth walk. Turns out the facility built a garden labyrinth — how wonderful! The woman running it was again, delightful. Great information, and the walk was lovely. I felt so much better at the end of it.

I went back to the Urban Tranquility table and bought a lavender and lemongrass soap (her prices are reasonable) — just wonderful. And met another woman who just opened a spa down the street who gave me a sample of the soap she’s developed. And I talked to one of the women displaying jewelry — her terrier came to make friends, managed to slip his lead and ran over to me — I’m telling you, if it roams on four feet, it wants to make friends.

Unfortunately, I was bitten to pieces by mosquitos. When I came home, I had to treat the bites. Most of them went right down with the cream from the last round, but one, on my left forearm, swelled to the size of a golf ball, so here we go again, with ice, cream, Benedryl.

I turned on the computer. And couldn’t reload the software. Suddenly, my password is invalid, and I can’t reset it.

I burst into tears.

I called White Plains. They put me on hold and no one ever came back to actually deal with the call.

More calls to Apple Care, finally get the password reset, re-loaded the software — with glitches, and, on a clean slate, everything should have loaded PERFECTLY. Had to make more calls to Apple Care, because suddenly, I couldn’t get my apps back from iTunes, had trouble moving applications back into the dock, had trouble reconfiguring the widgets out of Atlanta configurations to New York, and Mail started asking me questions it never asked before. I lost all the templates I created, and all the work I did on the iWeb sites — gone. The DVD player now won’t let me use the menu, I no longer have “permission.” I’m afraid to download more music or the apps I need for Prague, because I’m afraid that if I hook up my iPod to synch it, the iPod will stop working properly.

I’m getting a little sick of Apple Care. When all I knew how to do was turn on the computer, they were helpful. Now that I have more in-depth questions, they always put me on hold to “research” the question, come back to me with misinformation, and I wind up figuring out how to do it on my own anyway.

New hard drive, clean slate for software — why isn’t this piece of scrap metal running perfectly?

I cried all afternoon, spent six hours tweaking it — i have no idea what I did, but it kinda sorta works. But I didn’t pay thousands of dollars for kinda-sorta. I came to Apple because they are supposed to be reliable and have good customer service. If I wanted crap, I could have stuck to Microsoft.

I’ve got it to a place where I can sort of do what I need/want to do. It’s not running anywhere near the way it did when I first got it, but at least I can work on documents and get online.

What’s even more disappointing is that, if I was a man, this would have been resolved the first time I walked through the door. It’s not intentional sexism, the way it is with the outsourced Dell employees. It’s simply part of the cultural programming.

Well, at least the new version of Tweetdeck is prettier! 😉 I played with the colors.

So, Microsoft sucks and Apple sucks. I’m out of options. I’m not sure what I’m going to do next.

I keep trying to get perspective by telling myself this is a THING, not a person. A piece of machinery failed me, not a human being. Granted, the human beings behind that piece of machinery failed me, time and time again, over the course of the past week, but it’s still an object. There is a solution. I just can’t count on the people paid to provide one so to do. And I don’t want to make a decision out of panic. I need to research a few more options and see what makes sense.

And yes, the appropriate paperwork has been filed.

I’m not interested in any more talking with customer service representatives. I’m talked out, and the problems just escalate.

I was always told that Apple’s customer service ranked right up there with LL Bean and Timberland. On a scale of 1-100, I’d rank LL Bean at 100 with Timberland at 99. Apple’s down around 20. Of course, Dell is at -99, but that’s a whole different story.

I’m supposed to go and hang out in CT today, and I just don’t know if I want to. I’m not good company, I’m too upset. I will probably stay home and keep tweaking the computer to see if I can make it run better. Yeah, right. But, so far, my poking around is getting better results than calling tech support.

I’m so far behind on everything that needs to get done that it’s not funny. I bought an Apple so this wouldn’t happen, and it does anyway. And now I’m told to “expect” the external drive to fail. Why the fuck have ANY of this equipment?

Devon

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

One of our sightseeing options in Prague is a collection of whale penises displayed at a monastery. Huh?

Got some editing work done in the morning (which is weird, because I prefer to edit in the afternoon), but I wanted to get it done before the Optimum guy arrived.

He arrived early in the designated time period — I was shocked. He was in and out in 30 minutes — with Iris, who usually is afraid of strangers, supervising. Fortunately, the dispatcher took it seriously when I booked the appointment and told her to send someone who’s comfortable around cats.

I had trouble signing in, initially, so I called tech support, and he got me all set up in just a few minutes — phone, voice, wif-fi, ethernet, the whole deal. And the TV is still working properly, too, so it’s all good.

Remember when I switched to Verizon and it took two weeks to get it up and running? I’m already a happier customer.

But then I decided to start reconfiguring the space right away. I wanted to move my desk about four feet to the left and put the shelf unit I’d been using to my left – in front of the bookcase I dismantled — to the right, setting up the small printer and using it for office supplies, primarily. But to set both pieces back against the wall, I need ONE more INCH. ONE INCH. So I had to take all the books out of the enormous oak bookcase directly to the left of the new space in order to move it that ONE INCH, because it was too heavy for me to move with the books and tchakes in it. Which meant I had to dust everything, which was a good thing, because I hadn’t been able to get to that bookcase to dust it for awhile.

I truly loathe those “experts” who tell you not to have objects out on your shelves because that means you have to dust. So what? Every object has meaning and has a story, and dusting time means I re-tell the story to myself and remind myself of personal history and happy moments. Okay, so the collection of elephants took awhile — I didn’t realize how many there were, and working on those tiny tusks can be a bit time consuming — but it’s worth it.

I don’t trust people who don’t have books in their homes or who don’t have personal mementos displayed. In the former instance, someone who doesn’t read isn’t someone I can be comfortable around. In the latter instance, I always wonder what they’re hiding.

Anyway, I jiggled the bookshelf over its inch, hauled the desk across, and set up the shelf unit. Once I actually excavate my desk and get rid of all the crap that’s stacked up, it will look very nice (and get rid of the behemoth PC). The little printer is very happy on its top shelf, I’ve got my box of disks stacked beside it, and there was even room on the wall to hang my calendar. I could also get to the clock high up on the wall (I used to have to move the PC monitor and stand on the computer desk) to change the battery and reset it.

I tried to reset the 400-day clock, which ran down a few months ago, but it needs a professional.

I wasn’t able to unpack the office supplies and get them re-shelved, but at least I’ve gotten a start on it all.

A friend of mine gets really great boxes at work, and dropped off four on her way home, so I can unpack some of the bins where I’ve stored the books and pack the ones I don’t immediately need in the boxes and take them to storage. Then I can use the bins to finish packing up the stuff that needs packing in the bedroom, so I can do the furniture swap.

I was pretty wiped out last night and took it easy.

I’m really not happy that Yoga Accessories won’t take back the travel mat. It’s stinking up the whole house. I’m going to wash it with castille soap, and I found a place through SHAPE magazine that requested donations of yoga equipment. I’ve still got the box, so on Monday, I’ll pack it up and ship it off. Someone will be able to get good use out of it, especially when I get the smell out. I’m probably too fussy about texture, but texture in a mat is very important to me, and this just didn’t work.

This morning, I had to be up early to do my yoga, do a backup on Time Machine, run through the problems on the Mac, and get out the door a little after 8 AM for my Genius Appointment. I better walk out of there with everything solved this time around.

Then, I’m covering the Wellness fair at a location in town. I’m in the same town as one of the most prominent spiritual and wellness centers in the country, and I never spend time there. Mostly because I don’t like the egotistical infighting and the high prices. But I’ll see how the fair is – if anyone’s got a massage chair out to give 10 minute neck-rubs, I’m there!

Tomorrow is all about my writing — I’m packing up and going to visit a friend in CT for the day, hang out by the pool, relax, etc. and get some of my own work done. The last few weeks, my own work has been pushed to one side, and that can’t happen.

My writing is the priority, and everything else has to fit around the writing, not the other way around.

Devon

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a pretty quiet day, thank goodness. I got the site work done — in and around the cleaning crew that had come in! Hard to get any creative work or anything that needs serious concentration done with vacuum cleaners and mopping and scrubbing happening all the way around!

The same place has booked me again in October, for two weekends, right after I get back from Prague, book-ending the week I teach at the Muse Conference.

So, basically, October’s booked! Yay! I might take on one or two more small projects, but, for the most part, it’s done. I’ve already got a few things booked for November. This year, I hope to wrap up client work by December 15 and then give myself a holiday break until after the first of the year. If that’s financially viable. Between what’s booked and my own deadlines, it should be a productive autumn, and, while I’ll do some marketing, most of it will be geared to projects after the first of the year.

I’m lining up some guest bloggers to appear while I’m in Prague, so you won’t miss me too much!

I feel better — I’m wondering if the air conditioning caused the sore throat and swollen glands.

I’ve got to head over to the family pharmacy when it opens and pick up some herbal supplements I need, then wait for the Optimum guy. I have to clear out a little more space so we can get at the plugs, and he’s got about 5 feet of space at the phone jack, and about 3 where the cable lead comes into the apartment. And that’s the best I can do for him. He’s just going to have to work around boxes and bins and piles of stuff.

I decided that, since I’ve pulled so much stuff out of the way in the first place, I’m going to dismantle the entire office area and reconfigure it so it works better. It means moving the 3-tired desk unit that accommodates the computer and one printer about five feet to the left and setting up new shelving to my right, where it’s actually useful to me (being right-handed), and getting a row of project containers to sit along the front of it, instead of just keeping things in stacks that the cats rearrange.

The new yoga blocks are fantastic, as is my new mat bag. I still haven’t found where the cats stashed the other block. But the yoga travel mat I ordered simply will not work. The one I saw in the store was like a rough towel — soft, flexible, folded in quarters, could fit in my carry-on. The one that arrived is an overly long piece of vinyl which not only won’t roll up again, sticking on itself like cling wrap, but gives off such a strong chemical smell I nearly reeled. The cats won’t go anywhere near it.

I’m hoping the whole switch over won’t be too painful. I need to get some editing done, and I need to turn attention back to my own deadlines, which ALWAYS must come first.

Tomorrow, I’ve got a 9 AM appointment at the Genius Bar, and I want to get this damned computer re-aligned once and for all. I spent over two hours last night installing software updates. The huge update was for Apple Software. The tiny one was for Word for Mac — which took four times longer, and immediately I got a flag that I had to download an additional update because of “critical failures” in the previous update. Bite me, Microsoft!

I’m hoping these updates will make things run more smoothly, and that tomorrow’s Genius can smooth it out.

The zipper on my three-month old computer bag broke. Can ANYONE make something that lasts for more than a minute? I am so sick of shoddy manufacturing.

Let’s hope the ISP switch isn’t too much of a nightmare. When I switched TO Verizon DSL from whomever I had before (I can’t even remember who it was), I had two weeks of hell.

Fingers crossed.

Devon

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Overcast and humid

I scheduled my Sole Struck Fashions post on the Fall Season to go up this morning, but, heaven forbid it actually posted. And I can’t post from this computer, because the text is on my other computer and I can’t use a flashdrive on this one.

I’m doing this from the computer on site, since they didn’t leave me the password for the wireless. I can’t transfer work from my computer to this one, but at least I can get online here, since I’m not dashing home to feed the cats this a.m.

And 1and1 has been down for a couple of days, so I haven’t been able to access my email. Some of it I managed to pull through a different server, but most of it came through as gibberish, so I can’t deal with it until I get home and can use my own computer on my own hookup.

Which may or may not be tomorrow, since tomorrow is the big switch from Verizon to Optimum and I bet you, dollars to doughnuts, that Verizon shuts me off at midnight and I won’t have internet until Optimum shows up between 11 and 2 to wire me up.

On top of that, the Macbook is running poorly. It hasn’t run properly since they put the new hard drive in. And I was REALLY screwed yesterday, when I went home and tried to print out the short story for the anthology that had to go out yesterday and put in the headers. Suddenly, it won’t put in headers –not in Word, not in Pages. I’ve been putting headers into documents since I got the damned computer. Only suddenly, it won’t do so.

I call Apple Care. And I get ATTITUDE. “I’m not trained in Word, you have to call Microsoft.” Yeah, the ones who don’t help and whose “help” function is useless. And, as far as Pages — “we don’t tell you how to do things. We’re here for TECHNICAL support.”

Hey, dumbass, when it’s functioned for four months and suddenly doesn’t, it’s a TECHNICAL issue!

The Spotlight function, which searches out documents so you don’t have to go file-by-file, also isn’t working properly now. It finds the major stashes like “hard drive”, “desktop” and “documents”, but doesn’t always find individual files, which it always did before.

Who knows what else I’ll find doesn’t work as I pull up different documents? This is NOT acceptable.

I called the head office in CA. I am NOT putting up with this shit. I spent enough money on this system for it to work for more than four months. I spoke to a very nice woman who understood my concerns and frustrations, and reassures me this is not the norm for an Apple computer. I told her I have yet another Genius Bar appointment on Saturday morning at 9 AM, I am NOT taking 10 hours and driving over 2 states, and I expect to walk out of there with a computer that runs PERFECTLY. She agrees. Great, she’s nice, but agreement is not a solution, and I want a SOLUTION.

I doubt it will happen, but I’ve detailed everything in a letter to Steve Jobs, and it’s going out via certified mail tomorrow. Either Apple stands by their product and they make it right, or I want my money refunded and I’ll try yet another manufacturer.

I am NOT going through the same crap I went through with Dell for years.

So, yesterday was not a particularly productive day, although I finally managed to get the story out, although the story’s title was in the header on the right, near the page number, not the left as instructed. If that’s enough for them to reject it, then so be it.

Can you tell I am NOT a happy camper? Really, I just want to curl up into a fetal position and sob.

I cleared away the area for the cable guy to work yesterday, dismantling an entire wire-framed bookcase and the wooden shelf unit in front of it that held office supplied. I kind of like the space, so I think I’ll just set the shelf unit back. I obviously didn’t need most of the books that were in the bookcase behind it, so I’ll pack them and take them to storage.

Came back and did my site work. Not very productive, but got it done. Had another work-related event in the evening, which was fine.

Abby, the retrograde for good bargain shopping on small items and non-electronic items is Mercury, which goes into Retrograde in early September. It’s about about mixed up communication, travel delays, electronic glitches, etc., so of course, it will be in Retrograde when Costume Imp and I go to Prague! We figure as long as the plane stays in the air, we’re good, and we’ll cope with everything else. Besides, we’ll have good shopping!

I have noticed good shopping lately on household goods, which could be the effect of the Jupiter Retrograde, when it’s time to get home and hearth in order.

I feel like I’m getting sick — sore throat and swollen glands. I do not need this right now — I’m sure it’s triggered by stress.

Urgh.

Just a lousy week, for the most part (although I love this particular site job and look forward to coming back in early October). I will be glad to see the end of it, and greet a new week. Let’s hope it’s better, especially electronically!

Perhaps MY Mercury never went direct last time around! 😉

Brandy, Chris, thanks so much for your comments. I appreciate them.

Devon

Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 8:12 am  Comments (3)  
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Overcast and hot

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I shot over to Target, and was in and out in about ten minutes, with four big bins and two little ones. Got home. The apartment was surprisingly temperate. Turned on all the fans, fed the cats, cleaned out the litter boxes, etc. Watered all the plants. The morning glories are truly glorious. The tomato plants are huge, but haven’t blossomed.

Got a bit done online, but 1and1 was “down for maintenance”, so I couldn’t access my email. Urgh. It better run PERFECTLY from now on. Plus, they should LET US KNOW when they’re down for maintenance. Well, hopefully, I can get my sites redesigned in fall and switch to a different host.

Printed out “Personal Revolution”.

Got an idea for a piece on my way back to work, and outlined it, on and off, whenever I got the chance. It deals with yoga, renovation. life re-invention, all wrapped up in a mystery.

Got back to work at a reasonable time. Worked in the afternoon, and managed to get “Personal Revolution” revised so it can go out today, on time. Still not thrilled with the title, but it has to go out, so, for now, that’s what it’s called.

As I drove back to the site this afternoon, there was a coyote, staring at me from the brush, bold as brass. He was gorgeous, large, definitely too alert and engaged to be rabid, but also definitely has adjusted to the suburbs. He watched me for a bit, not threatening, just taking the measure, then slipped back into the thicket. On the one hand, since the site is isolated and I’m here on my own for most of the time, I’m more comfortable knowing coyotes are around, because it’s unlikely anyone can sneak up on the place — they’d be dinner. On the other hand, it also means I have to be careful outside on my own. Now, if I can only interpret the message Coyote brought . . .

Managed to squeeze in a challenging yoga practice this afternoon — what a difference. I’ve seen a huge leap in flexibility using YOGA JOURNAL’s MORNING, NOON, AND NIGHT DVD. The night practice is a little easier than the one I usually do, so I usually use it on days I need a more restorative practice, and do my usual sequences on the other days. The morning and noon practices are more challenging than those I was doing, and I feel the difference by rising to the challenge.

I’m facing an interesting dilemma as I outline the yoga mystery — the first three or four pages of the outline are backstory. The scenes they outline are dramatic and viable, but it’s not where I want to start the book. I want to start in media res. Yet I feel like I need to write those early chapters for myself, even if I never use them. But the opening chapter I want to use is almost fully formed in my head. I have a feeling I’ll write the opening chapter, then go back and write the backstory chapter, and the move forward, seeing if and where it’s appropriate to weave in the backstory to the main story. Even if those chapters never make it into the final draft, their very existence will add depth to whatever IS left in the final draft.

Because, as a writer, nothing is ever wasted.

And you can’t hesitate to throw out what doesn’t serve the story, no matter how much work you put into it, or how much you like it.

Worked on two articles yesterday, too, in and around everything else.

Headed back to check on the cats this morning, and carve a path for the cable guy so Friday morning isn’t total chaos. Then it’s back to the site, for a concentrated day today and tomorrow.

I’m disappointed that I couldn’t see the meteor shower — too many exterior lights. Boo. Even out here, isolated as it is, there are still too many lights marring the night sky.

I’m hoping that Sunday will be a restful, restorative day.

Devon

Published in: on August 12, 2009 at 8:45 am  Comments (4)  

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

Okay. I’m officially exhausted.

Got home yesterday — it was very temperate in the apartment. I turned on all the fans to get it as cool as possible while I was there, spent time on the internet downloading and sending out things that needed to be sent. I also did a back-up — which took longer than I hoped, because it was the first time Time Machine met the new hard disk, and they had to get acquainted. Still, it took less than an hour (an ounce of prevention, and all that), which is much better than the PC’s 56-hour back-up time!

Went to Verizon, Throwing the phones was definitely a viable option. They couldn’t/wouldn’t even test my mother’s phone to see what was wrong with it, because it was more than two years old. WTF?????? I had to BUY a new phone. Not happy, especially since, two weeks ago, on the phone they said I could simply trade it in for the one I got, which is specially featured for seniors, with large keys and displays. Heaven forbid anyone at the store is “able” (yeah, right) to confirm this promise with anyone at the call center — even though I have the person’s name who made the promise. Liars and thieves, the lot of them. And now I’m stuck in a new two year contract, or I couldn’t get a new phone, and my elderly mother would have been put into danger by not being able to call for help, should something go wrong. They also swore up, down, and sideways, when I tried to find a better-priced plan to meet my needs better (as in, add in text and email) that such a plan doesn’t exist — even though it does, according to billshrink.com. The only plans that include what I need, are, of course, quite a bit more expensive than what I pay now. Which is typical of Verizon. They charge you to breathe. Just because I’m saving money by getting away from Verizon for landline, cable, and internet — I’m not giving them all that savings for a new phone plan. The personnel are perfectly pleasant, but the company does not give them what they need to actually provide customer service.

I didn’t even bother to try to upgrade my phone. If my poor little old phone can limp along another two years, I’ll simply get iPhones, even it means switching to AT&T.

And now they want me to fill out a customer satisfaction survey. Are they serious? Face it, would YOU want to be the one reading that particular survey?

Never made it to Target, because I had to get back to work. Dropped off my mom’s phone, and had to go back later in the evening to set it up.

Worked, went over and set up my mom’s phone, and had to do an evening event for work. Totally wiped out. The heat and humidity don’t help, either.

Slept well, though, and had a good morning yoga session. A good, long yoga session in the morning helps my posture and helps keep me in alignment far into the day.

Did some work on both “Personal Revolution” and “Amends” this morning.

Heading out — hope to make it to Target this morning on my way to feed the cats, check a few things online at home, and then get back here EARLY this time for a productive day on site.

Devon

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 10:07 am  Comments (4)  
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Hop on over to Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page, where I’m a guest blogger while she’s out of town. I write about the Home Writing Retreat.

Of course, yesterday’s post didn’t post when scheduled (et tu, Word Press?), so it’s below this one.

Yet more techno-drama. Yesterday, my mother’s cell phone died. So, today, I’m taking all the phones and chargers and tossing them at someone’s head at the store. Done with tech problems. I want the services for which I pay.

Later that night, the landline where she’s staying went out. I went over and managed to fiddle with it so she can call out if there’s an emergency.

Parchment, quill pens, carrier pigeons. Just sayin’.

I was out of the house yesterday early, having cleaned up, taken out the garbage, cleaned out the litter boxes, taken out the recycling, filled the feeders and waterers, checked to make sure everything was turned off/unplugged/locked.

I couldn’t believe how full the car was: the duffle with my clothes, my yoga bag, my computer bag, my workbag with files/research materials/DVDs/etc., and three bags of food.

I arrived a little early to go over the instructions for the week, and it started raining soon after. I unpacked the food, unpacked the work stuff and clothes, etc. and settled in. Ah! Peace and quiet. I’m happy to say the Time Machine back-ups seem to have worked, and MOST of my files are intact. Those that I have to re-download are easily accessible, and I didn’t lose any original work. I was settled in to work before 10 AM.

That midair crash on Saturday between the helicopter and the small plane over the Hudson is horribly tragic. Nine people killed. There are too many crashes — every day on the roads and now in the air.

Had a reasonably productive day. In addition to the site work, I got the first draft of “Plot Bunnies” into the computer and started getting “Personal Revolution” in. I also managed to work in some work for an editing client. I was very fatigued all day, the fallout from the previous day’s stress.

However, one of my favorite things about working/staying at this site is the kitchen. Last night, I made poached chicken in orange/lime/cilantro sauce, made creamy mashed potatoes, and steamed some peas and corn with more cilantro and just a touch of garlic. Yum! And pizza for lunch.

Had a great yoga session this morning. Started the next short story on the list. Another comic mystery. Got everything sorted at the site until I get back.

I’m headed back home to feed the cats (will probably post this from home), clean up after them, print off some material on my computer, download some more editing projects, maybe finally get my bins from White Plains, and get the cell phone situation sorted out with Verizon before heading back to the site. It’s supposed to take me about two hours, but we’ll see. I’m keeping careful lists as I move from the site to my home office, because specific things have to be done at each, and I only have about an hour or two off-site each day in which to get it all done.

It’s supposed to be nearly 100 today, so I’ve got to make sure I get the apartment cooled off, the cats have cool places to sleep, and there’s plenty of cool water for them.

Enjoy!

Devon

This Did Not Post When Scheduled

Heaven forbid it would actually publish when WordPress promised it would — wrote and posted this Saturday night, set to post at 5 AM EST on Sundy and . . nothing.

I am rarely angry with WordPress, but this was NOT the weekend for them to fail me!

Sunday, August 9, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
No idea of the weather — writing this Saturday night

So, I think I’ve got a working computer again, but I’m finding I have to reload this and that, in spite of the Time Machine supposed full system back-ups, and I am not happy.

I am not happy that I had to spent 10 hours crossing 2 states because a FOUR MONTH old computer that’s treated better than most family members took a dive. Especially at the prices Apple charges for their computers. The personnel were pleasant, and it looks like it’s up and running, and it looks like all my files are intact — even the ones I backed up literally seconds before the drive took a dive. I lost an entire workday, which I can’t afford to do, and, had I not adamantly refused to be put off until “an appointment opened up” and dug in, I would have lost a hell of a lot of work and income.

You better believe Apple head office will hear from me — both the good and the bad.

Even at its lowest point today, it was still better than ANY experience I had with Dell.

But I had a raging headache when I got home, a missed workday/lost income on an emergency gig, used more gas dealing with this crap than I used to drive to Maine last month, and had to be up for hours finishing the prep for the site job.

Anyway, by the time you read this, I SHOULD be at the site gig, and I SHOULD be using my computer-with-its-new-hard drive — and this one better work for more than 4 months!

Thank goodness I did a backup literally seconds before the drive died, so the work I did this a.m. is intact.

I was so upset, I had to go buy books. They were on sale, so I felt less bad. A novel, a memoir, a yoga book and a book I’m not sure what it is,but it looked interesting.

I have to say, in the many hours I spent at various Apple stores across two different states, I was surprised by the number of people who’ve either dropped their iPhones down the toilet or left it out in the rain, and are shocked when that’s not covered by warranty. Since when is stupidity covered by warranty? One woman — this was the 3rd phone in ONE MONTH she destroyed — once in the toilet, once in public pool, and this time, she left it out in the rain. Must be nice to have hundreds of dollars to toss around replacing equipment you can’t handle responsibly.

It was a LOUSY day. On the way home, I stopped at the wine store and treated myself, and the prices wouldn’t scan. I said, “That sums up my whole day.”

Let’s hope today is better, shall we?

Devon

Published in: on August 10, 2009 at 9:04 am  Comments (1)  
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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
No idea of the weather — writing this Saturday night

So, I think I’ve got a working computer again, but I’m finding I have to reload this and that, in spite of the Time Machine supposed full system back-ups, and I am not happy.

I am not happy that I had to spent 10 hours crossing 2 states because a FOUR MONTH old computer that’s treated better than most family members took a dive. Especially at the prices Apple charges for their computers. The personnel were pleasant, and it looks like it’s up and running, and it looks like all my files are intact — even the ones I backed up literally seconds before the drive took a dive. I lost an entire workday, which I can’t afford to do, and, had I not adamantly refused to be put off until “an appointment opened up” and dug in, I would have lost a hell of a lot of work and income.

You better believe Apple head office will hear from me — both the good and the bad.

Even at its lowest point today, it was still better than ANY experience I had with Dell.

But I had a raging headache when I got home, a missed workday/lost income on an emergency gig, used more gas dealing with this crap than I used to drive to Maine last month, and had to be up for hours finishing the prep for the site job.

Anyway, by the time you read this, I SHOULD be at the site gig, and I SHOULD be using my computer-with-its-new-hard drive — and this one better work for more than 4 months!

Thank goodness I did a backup literally seconds before the drive died, so the work I did Sat. a.m. is intact.

I was so upset, I had to go buy books. They were on sale, so I felt less bad. A novel, a memoir, a yoga book and a book I’m not sure what it is,but it looked interesting.

I have to say, in the many hours I spent at various Apple stores across two different states, I was surprised by the number of people who’ve either dropped their iPhones down the toilet or left it out in the rain, and are shocked when that’s not covered by warranty. Since when is stupidity covered by warranty? One woman — this was the 3rd phone in ONE MONTH she destroyed — once in the toilet, once in public pool, and this time, she left it out in the rain. Must be nice to have hundreds of dollars to toss around replacing equipment you can’t handle responsibly.

It was a LOUSY day. On the way home, I stopped at the wine store and treated myself, and the prices wouldn’t scan. I said, “That sums up my whole day.”

Let’s hope today is better, shall we?

Devon

Published in: on August 9, 2009 at 5:38 am  Comments Off on Sunday, August 9, 2009  
Tags: ,

Hard Drive Failure (on an Apple, no less!)

Short version:

Hard drive failed this a.m.

Took in to store.

Didn’t have part.

Sent me to a different state.

Put in new hard drive.

Said he didn’t have to reload any software, it would load from back-up.

It doesn’t.

Basically, I have a blank shell.

Original disks won’t load.

Not happy.

Waiting at White Plains store; they promised to fit me in and make it right.

Have to leave for onsite work at 8:30 AM tomorrow with working computer and restored files.

NOT HAPPY — been dealing with this since 9 AM and it is now nearly 6 PM.

Published in: on August 8, 2009 at 4:56 pm  Comments (5)  

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Quick post because there’s too much going on and not enough hours in the day.

Got a good batch of work done yesterday a.m., plus getting to Trader Joe’s to stock up on cat food. Then, I was called in to another site job for an emergency during the late afternoon and evening, and I’ll have to go back today after my Genius Bar appointment. They’ve been really good to me, so I don’t mind helping them out, but I also got in some client work I wasn’t expecting until the middle of next week, and I’m going to have to do it piecemeal in and around the site job next week. There was no way I could turn around that amount of material in a couple of hours and give it the attention it needs, even if it was the only project on my desk (which it wasn’t).

AND meet the deadlines for my own work.

I got some work done on “Plot Bunnies” and finished the second mystery this morning. I need a new title. However, it’s different enough in tone and style that it does fit under the “Devon” name rather than the “Ava” name under which “Plot Bunnies” will submit. And, with the latter, I think I only have to cut about 60 words — not 1500, like in the first.

I have my work “cut out” for me — pun intended!

I have to pack up and move three sets of bookcases and files from in front of the phone jack before the Optimum guy shows up next week. Got started on that and will stop at Target after the Genius Bar appointment to pick up, you guessed it more bins. I’ll do a little bit each day when I dash back for the hour or so to feed the cats.

Sending the Verizon marketing materials back unopened and marked “Refused.”

Ran out of ink on the big printer, so I have to deal with that in the next couple of days, since I’ve got to print out postcards and sent them to a friend who offered to distribute them for me. Also have to do a little research on a reasonable quote for a big project. The guy wants a for-hire on something that is usually done by royalties — he swears there won’t be any; I think he’s full of it. For-hire is a way higher price than royalties, in my book, so I’m sure I’ll price myself out of his budget.

The cats and I were all settled down to sleep late last night when the familiar heaving noise all cat owners know and hate so well filled the room. I turned on the light to find that Violet, the littlest cat, heaved up the biggest fur ball I’ve ever seen. We all just stared at it. I said, “How can something that big come out of something so little?” Not fun to clean up, but at least she’s feeling better and we know the Petromalt does its job!

I’ve got to clean out the litter boxes, get to the bank and post office, and get over to the Genius Bar. I hope we can get this issue resolved once and for all.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Published in: on August 8, 2009 at 9:15 am  Comments (1)  
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Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was fun. Hot and sticky, but lots of good food and great company, after typical NYC transportation kerflamma.

I left early to run a few errands and got to the train station well before my train. The previous train was running late, so when it turned up, I jumped on, figuring the later train would be even later. Got in to Grand Central early. Texted Costume Imp — who was stuck on HIS train. Wandered over to Starbucks for an iced coffee– the woman behind the counter was hilarious, telling the woman in line behind me, “We have lots of great stuff here. Don’t you be fixing your face like that!”

Revived by iced coffee, I heard the announcement that the train I PLANNED to take was stuck somewhere along the line, and was grateful I wasn’t on it. Also noticed heavy police presence and that the trash bins were removed — NYPD must have gotten a tip.

Costume Imp arrived and we booked up Fifth Avenue through the tourists to Central Park. Of course, when we got into the Park, I got us headed in the wrong direction, but we found a helpful man with a map and only got to the Boathouse a few minutes late for our reservation. We were seated at a table right at water’s edge, where we could see the turtles poke up their little heads asking for bread from the bread basket. I don’t think I’ve ever seen turtles beg before!

We had a lovely three course meal with the appropriate wines — pate to start, I had the flank steak with horseradish-dill mashed potatoes and asparagus, Costume Imp had the pork, and we split a layered Key Lime Cake with mango after. Unfortunately, the cake also had coconut, which neither of us like.

We pulled out the Prague books and shared information, and Imp told me about this three weeks in Italy, which sounded wonderful! We’re gathering a lot of information for the trip, but also giving ourselves a lot of flexibility — not deciding a moment-by-moment itinerary, but seeing what we feel like doing each day, knowing we will cover a lot of ground over the course of a week.

On the way back, we stopped by the Strand outpost next to the park, where I got a book about dime novels and a Swedish mystery. We continued back down Fifth Avenue — Costume Imp peeled off to go back home, and I went over to Hagstrom’s to get a better map of Prague –one that actually has the part of town in it containing our hotel. I found it right away — and there was a whole shelf of books on Prague, which made my mouth water. I settled on a book of walking tours — although I don’t think we could do all of them (most of them are day-long excursions) — it will give us some details along the way.

The cultural history of Prague I’m reading discusses their “tradition of defenestration.”

Okay.

As good as the food was, I don’t eat meat often, and it sat like a lead ball in my stomach all night. I skipped both dinner and my workout.

Books arrived from National Geographic — a travel tale about Norway, a book about an excavation in the Andes, and the Family Reference Atlas, which is one of the coolest Atlases I’ve ever seen!

Packed for next week — clothes, anyway. I’ve got to back the books and reference materials today, and then I’ll pack the food first thing before I leave.

I’ve got to stock up on cat food at Trader Joe’s today, get some client work done, and get some work done on the short stories. I had a great morning’s work on the second mystery, but I’ve got to get the draft of the first one typed and printed so I can revise it over the weekend. I am not looking forward to figuring out how to cut 1500 words — that’s almost a story in itself. In other words, I have to decide if I’ll take out one of th elements running through the piece, or if I can make enough small, internal cuts and tightenings so that it adds up to 1500 words.

Ran into a neighbor while I took out the garbage this morning, and mentioned the DSL problem. He’s been having the same problem with Verizon, as have several other people in the building. When they call, they’re told to switch to FIOS to fix the problem, which is of course, more expensive. So it looks like all of us are making the jump to Optimum instead. None of us are amused by this strong-arm tactic.

Fixed the other side of the 1950’s chair yesterday, and hope to fix the seat today. Week after next, after the site job and the internet switch, I’ll go in search of fabric to make new cushions.

Got a reply to a job pitch. I’m definitely qualified, but this guy is trying to get me to give him a quote without giving me the details I need to give him a quote, saying he can’t talk about the project in detail yet and he needs a quote to see if we can move forward so neither of our time is wasted. I asked him a few more questions — if he answers, he gets a quote. If not, buh-bye. I’m sure I’m out of his price range anyway — I’m pretty sure, even though this is a long-term, royalty-producing project, he’s looking for an inexpensive work-for-hire, so he should probably get someone earlier in their career. But if he wants it to really take off, he needs someone with experience. Tough, when you’re creating a project, but if you’re going to hire in people rather than creating from within your tribe, the boundaries are different.

At least it’s cooler and less humid — for the moment.

Have a great weekend!

Devon